Of all our skits and short plays, I think I’d say our Dramatic Dialogue One Man’s Treasure is my favorite, if I had to pick. I love pulling stories from the pages of Scripture and imagining them on a stage, and One Man’s Treasure does just that.
Inspired by one of Christ’s shortest parables (a single verse!) in Matthew 13, the skit imagines farmhand Eli, who has just discovered a hidden treasure, rushing to share the news with his coworker James. But James struggles to believe his friend’s unlikely story and resists the wild scheme Eli proposes. While Eli has caught a vision of new possibilities, James can only see risks. But each of them has to make a choice.
Instead of any more explanation from me, meet these two characters for yourself! Below, we’re sharing the opening interaction between Eli and James from the script of our Dramatic Dialogue. (And for more details about this script, scroll to the end of this post!)
ONE MAN’S TREASURE
[Curtains open on James, wearily walking across the stage.]
Eli: [offstage] James! [runs in, breathing hard] James, where are you headed?
James: Home, where do you think?
Eli: [still panting, puts his hand on James’s shoulder] You’ve gotta come see something.
James: No, Eli, not now—I’m exhausted.
Eli: [trying to catch his breath] James, this is big! You want to see it, I promise.
James: All I want right now is to sit down and eat supper. And then sleep. [turning away] It can wait until tomorrow.
Eli: [eagerly, but not aggressively, grabbing James’s arm] No, it can’t!
James: [irritated, turns with a sigh, pulling his arm away] Fine. What is it?
Eli: [enters storytelling mode, excited] Okay, you know that I was working in the southeast field today, where they’re extending the wheat?
Eli: Well, I was away on the far end, kind of by myself, and I was just about to quit for the day—it was so blazing hot, you know, and my arms were about to give out—
James: [curtly] Yes, I was there. Can we skip the commentary?
Eli: [hesitates for just a moment, cut by James’s attitude, but resumes with fervor] Well, I found, buried there…. [pauses, shaking his head in amazement] I still—you’re not gonna believe me—
James: [impatient] Well try me, would you!
Eli: [earnest, almost solemn] I found…a treasure. A treasure, James, in an old coffer, just a foot or so down.
James: [skeptical] You’re joking.
Eli: No, I’m not—it’s real! [James looks at him for a minute, then scoffs and turns to walk away.] James, there’s more wealth there than I ever could’ve imagined in one place!
James: [turns back and looks at Eli, shaking his head in disbelief, with a slight chuckle] You, my friend, have been reading too many of your daughter’s fairy tales—
Eli: [fervent] I’m not making this up! And I’m not crazy either! You’ve gotta believe me: I could tell my spade was hitting something and I got down and dug it out with my own hands! I swear, it’s true—
James: [lifts his hands, to calm Eli down] Okay. Okay. [looks at him and shrugs] Sure: I’ll believe you. That’s great—someone must have set aside some spare change for a rainy day and forgotten all about it.
Eli: [shaking his head] We’re not talking about a few shekels, James. I said “treasure” and I mean “treasure.”
We’d love to share more, except we can’t spoil the rest of the story! But here are a few more quick facts for you: this Dramatic Dialogue is quite short, running only about five minutes in performance. No props or special costumes are required. Eli and James are the only two characters—and if necessary one or both of them can be performed by girls instead of boys (in which case the script suggests changing the names to Leah and Jael).
One Man’s Treasure can be performed at anytime of the year—as an illustration in your church service or youth group, as a talent night performance, or as a short play that siblings or friends can put together just for the fun of it. Though short, the skit brims with energy and conveys a resounding, thought-provoking message. And as a bonus, One Man’s Treasure also meets BOTH Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) convention guidelines for a Dramatic Dialogue AND Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (FACCS) junior fine arts competition rules for Duet Acting! So if your school sends students to regional conventions this spring, now is the time to be planning ahead and finding a script to perform.